Monday, June 18, 2012

Ragnar: Wasatch Back 2012!


So way back in the beginning of February, my sister in law, Brittany, texted me while I was at my husband's band's show at Liquid Joe's.  She asked if I would be interested in running a relay race on Father's Day weekend.  I told her that I was in no way, shape, or form a runner.  She said that that was ok and that it was mostly about having so much fun and having a great time with your fellow runners.  Being as I love Brittany, I said yes.  Little did I know that she 100% lied to me...you do in fact need to be a runner.  Or at least that would have been helpful.  She did NOT lie about the fact that it would be so much fun and that I would have an awesome time with my fellow runners. :)

I definitely should have started hard core training THEN...but I didn't.  I kept going about my daily business and kept telling myself I'd start "next week."  But all of the sudden, Ragnar was 6 weeks away and I had not started up my running.  I still worked out and had my dance classes, but HATED the treadmill.  But I started to buckle down and run.  And by run I mean maybe 2-3 miles on the treadmill or run around my complex.  The week leading up to it, I tried harder, but only got up to about 5 miles...on a treadmill...in a controlled temperature gym...with "Friends" on TBS.

Remember that conversation Britt and I had in February?  And she said it was Father's Day weekend?  Well...in my mind, that meant Saturday and Sunday.  And no where in any of our meetings did anyone say otherwise.  Well, Friday, June 15th, rolled around and my sister, Krista, gives me a call.  (Krista was our driver.)  She wakes me up and says, "Where are you?"  I'm like what are you talking about?  As you're all beginning to suspect...I had the days wrong.  The race was Friday and Saturday and I was supposed to be packing up our van with my team at that very moment.  I immediately burst into tears!  I was not ready!  I had not packed my bag, I had not gone grocery shopping, I had not stretched, and most importantly...I was not mentally prepared for this to start TODAY!  My sister just told me to get my running stuff together and just get there!  There was more than enough food and to just get my essentials.  My sweet husband made me breakfast and packed up some snacks while I raced around our apartment like a mad woman getting my running clothes, blankets, and anything else I knew I would need.  I got out of there in 10 minutes and ended up only being about 35 minutes late.  When I got there, my team had already decorated the car and packed it up.  So all I had to do was put my own stuff in, we took a picture, I kissed my husband goodbye, and off we went!


(We hated our team name that Van 1 came up with, so we just called ourselves "Sexxxy Mommas" :)
My awesome team: Nikki, Brittany, Liz, Tiff, Jaclyn, and myself!

Someone got the brilliant idea to add up the amount of children our ladies had birthed.  I had no contribution (obvs), but Brittany made up for it with her 7! :)

For those of you that do not know about what a Ragnar relay is all about...let me explain.  So you're on a team of 12 people, but divided up in to 2 vans.  You pretty much only see your other van when you're exchanging off to them and then when you cross the finish line together.  You always go in the same order (3 times in a row) and every leg is varying amounts of lengths and hardness.  Since Ragnar has to put exchanges in convenient places, some legs are not very long and some are extremely long.  They also have van support on a lot of the legs.  That means your van can stop along the way during your leg to give you water, spritz you down, pump up the jams, give you some cheers, etc.  I, however, got the legs where there was no van support.  I was #11!  

We left Bountiful and headed on up near Ogden.  (The race actually starts in Logan, but Van 1 had started at 5:30am and our van met up with them in Ogden.)  There we got our safety speech, our orange flags, etc. so we were all good to go the rest of the race.  Jaclyn was runner #7 so she was the first in our van to start racing!  Nikki was #8, Britt was #9, Liz was #10, and Tiffany was #12!  And Krista was our awesome driver!  Poor Tiffany and I never had van support. :(

I was feeling pretty good until Liz started her leg.  Then the jitters started!  All these questions started flooding my mind.  Could I do this?  Would I be able to finish?  Would my team be so mad at me if I did not finish as quick as they wanted me to?  Let me tell you why I was so anxious...my first leg was 7.3 miles UPHILL!  From the start of my leg, to the end of my leg, I gained over 2,000 feet!  Well, Liz rounded the corner and I did not have time to think anymore.  The moment of truth was here!  She slapped that orange band on my wrist and off I went!
Here I am when I started!  My heart was pumping so hard!

My first mile I was fairly pumped!  I couldn't believe how long I was running uphill!  It was kind of fun!  When people would pass me (or "kill me" as they say in the racing world), people would wave and say: "Good Job!" or "You're doing awesome!"  I loved it!  It made me not care that people were passing me!  Then the stamina started to wane.  So from there on out I would run, speed walk, run, speed walk and just kept that rhythm until LOW AND BEHOLD...DOWNHILL!  I plowed down that thing!  Unfortunately, it was only about .5 of a mile before the road went back on up.  There was a water station there and they told me I had gone 3.5 miles!  I seriously was like, "Are you kidding me?  I feel like I've already gone 7.3!" But no stopping now...so I kept on going.  It was really getting hard at this point!  My body wanted to stop and the sun was beating down on me.  I slowed down for a little bit to regain my strength and then started to run again.  I hit another water station and they told me I had 2.5 miles to go!  UGH!  I really didn't know if I could do anymore, but I had to!  Soon after, my body language must have shown I was ready to give up because all the sudden, I felt 2 fists in my back and this guy was behind me yelling, "GO!  DO NOT GIVE UP!"  He stayed with me for a little bit and then went on ahead.  I was so impressed with his sportsmanship.  FINALLY...I saw this sign:
...which I have learned, is the absolute, most deceiving sign!  You are so excited, but then it feels like it really is 3 miles, instead of just 1!  Soon after I saw the exchange, all the cars, people waiting, and it really pumped me up to push myself that last little bit!  I passed the Ragnar man and I heard him say into his walkie talkie "691."  As I rounded around I heard another person yell, "691!"  And then I saw my teammate, Tiffany!  I slapped that bracelet on her and off she went!  

My other teammates and Krista were there as well.  They got me water and let me sit down in the shade!  Then they told me the greatest thing ever: that I had finished 20-30 minutes sooner than they thought!  I felt so accomplished!  I had gone 7.3 miles uphill in 1 hour and 49 minutes!  I honestly thought I was going to be at least 2.5 hours!  It felt amazing...and it kinda hurt. :)  My hip flexors were dying!  I stretched, Krista rubbed my shoulders, and after a bagel, I was feeling better.  When Tiffany finished, our van was all done with our first legs!  We were near Morgan, so we went to the Subway there, then went on the Morgan Middle School.  We spread out on the lawn in our sleeping bags and attempted to sleep for 2 hours.  It really wasn't much of a sleep since it was like 6 in the evening.  And our Van 1 were speedy speedies so our off time was cut short.  Our van started up again in East Canyon, by this gorgeous lake!
Jaclyn started us up again and was the only runner in our van that got partial daylight, but finished in the dark.
The sunset was gorgeous!
After Jaclyn and Nikki, I started to get really tired.  So when Brittany started at 11pm, I attempted to sleep in the backseat.
It was not so successful.  I think I fell asleep for like 5 mins and the rest of the time I was just relaxing.  When Liz started her run, I started to mentally prepare myself.  Krista got us to my exchange so I could get ready.  When you run at night you have to wear a reflective vest, a flashing light on your back, and a headlamp.  I got all ready to go and then Tiff and I waited for Liz to get to the exchange.  My anxiety really started to hit the roof then.  I kinda started to do the pee dance.  Then I talked with the Ragnar man there.  I asked him if anybody had been attacked by a wild animal while running at night.  He said no, then told me someone saw a mountain lion last year!  Um...ok, man.  You did not calm my nerves, as that was the one animal I really DID NOT want to encounter.  He told me it was way high up and didn't bother anyone.  Then I asked him if anyone had been attacked by a male.  He thought I meant a male animal.  It was fairly entertaining when I meant a human.  He really did think I was nuts and said no.  I knew the only way I was going to stay calm was if I could always see a runner in front of me and a runner behind me.

Then they called 691 and here came Liz!  She slapped that bracelet and off I went on my 2nd leg.  This leg was 5.5 miles of a variety.  Some up, some down, some flat.  My nerves were easily put to rest when I realized we were on a road so vans were constantly passing me to get to the next exchange and I had a lot of runners around me.  It was really cool to see a string of headlamps behind me and a string of flashing red lights in front of me.  I could tell I was by a lake for the majority of the run, but there was no moon so it was not so romantic.  I did indeed see a wild animal...but it was only a deer.  I was hoping it would not run out in front of me though!  After about 3 miles, I was so tired!  But then Fergie came through and "Fergalicous" came on my iPod.  Twas awesome and pumped me up to keep going.  I did not run as fast as I wanted to, but I really did enjoy myself on that run.  My body was so tired, but running at 2:30 in the morning was pretty cool, especially when a bunch of other people are as well.  I was so happy when the bright lights of the exchange were close and then I saw Tiffany! (She was my favorite face of this experience. :)  I did that leg of 5.5 miles in 1 hour and 13 minutes.

Tiffany was done a little over an hour later and then our van headed off to another school to rest up for our last legs!  The sun was starting to come up when we hit our sleeping bags!  Our van had put the sun to sleep and woke it on up!  Crazy!  I fell straight to sleep that time and we got about 2 hours before we had to get to the exchange.
Bagels were my favorite choice of food.
Once Jaclyn took off, we supported her some, and then waited at Nikki's exchange.  That is where we took this following picture!
At a bunch of the exchanges, there were people spray painting on the Ragnar symbol.  Mine is lime green, which is hard to see in this picture.  And this was our random friend who decided to show off his Ragnar tattoo.

Jaclyn came in and was done!!  Then Nikki was off!  Her leg took us from Heber to Midway.  We supported her along the way.  This is us at her exchange.  There were Honey Buckets at every exchange!  As gross as they are...thank heaven for Honey Buckets!!
I'm obviously showing a lot of love for that Honey Bucket.

One of the coolest things happened at this exchange.  We were with Brittany pumping her up and getting her ready.  Brittany was the leg that started up the hill that they call the "ragnar hill."  It was pretty steep and about 8 miles long.  Brittany and Liz split it.  Britt was really anxious about it.  This one girl was about to do that same leg, but yelled out to everyone around, "My dad is about to get here. He has really had a hard time with this leg!  His knees are struggling, but he is so stubborn and won't let one of our runners finish it for him.  Can you guys really cheer for him when he turns the corner?"  Oh geez...I'm getting goosebumps now.  Well, he rounded the corner.  He was probably in his mid 50s or so.  Everyone started cheering for him!  All of us started crying!  He was powering through, but you could tell he was having a hard time.  He kept putting his face down, which I'm thinking was so none of us could tell he was crying...but we all could. :) Then he slapped the bracelet on his daughter and then they hugged!  It seriously was the coolest moment to witness!  Then she was off and he hobbled on to the lawn and someone got him a cane.  Shortly after Brittany took off.

We got Nikki in the car and we went to go support Brittany!  We supported Britt a lot since she had a hard hill to climb!  She rocked it!  She made friends with this one guy and they became buddies to help each other up the hill.  His name was Ken...he was awesome! :) We really got in to the spirit on the Ragnar hill.  We were cheering other people on, giving them water, spraying them down with a spray bottle, and just loving the camaraderie!  After 4.4 miles, Liz took over and did awesome as well!  Then, as always, the anxiety starts since I realize I am next.  I had another long one ahead of me.  This last leg of mine was 7.0 miles and was mostly downhill.  Now, if this leg had been first...I probably would have flown down, but being as this leg was my 3rd, even downhill was not so easy.
Here I go!
Yeah...it's all downhill after that first uphill you see in the picture.
My leg started our descent into Park City!  It was so pretty!  I was able to power through a lot of the first half of my run.  I was running at a good speed and was feeling pretty good.  My hip flexors loosened up and did not hurt, but what did start to hurt...my left foot arch!  Like SO painful.  Going downhill is not so kind...it was very jolting and every time I came down on my left foot it would send a shock wave through my foot and ankle.  I tried not to think about it and just listen to my songs and look at the scenery.  About half way through the run, there is this straight up hill that goes for about .5 miles...which lasts forever when you're going uphill!!  Humorously, Maroon 5's "Harder to Breathe" song came on while on that hill.  There was a water station at the top and they told me I had gone 4 miles.  Alright...I'm over halfway!  I can do this.  But I really couldn't.  My body had honestly taken enough.  It did not want to go anymore.  I began to cry as my left foot was sending shooting pain everywhere now.  I began to say a prayer.  It went a little something like this:

"Heavenly Father, I don't think I can do this.  I want to...I really do.  But I hurt so badly.  I need you to give my physical strength and push me to do this.  Please.  I don't want to let down my teammates or myself.  Please....Please."

So I started to run again and pushed through.  Did my pain go away?  Nope.  But I was able to stop thinking about it momentarily.  I went probably another mile and my faith was beginning to fade again. I guess my body language is easy to read because this lady came up and asked what was wrong.  She reached into her fanny pack and handed me an ice cold sponge.  She told me to rub it wherever on my skin that it hurts.  Then off she went running.  That sponge was awesome!  It calmed down my calves and it felt amazing on my face!  At the last water station they told me I had 1.5 to go.  The guy there told me, "If you walk...you get there slower.  If you run...you hurt more.  Take your pick."  I had to run.  I HAD to do it.  So I did...I ran.

When I started my final descent, I could see the exchange down at the bottom.  Then I saw that blasted "1 mile to go" sign.  I started to hurt more than ever before.  I stopped running briefly to walk.  Then I got really mad at myself and began to run again.  Then I repeated this whole run, walk, get mad, and run again routine.  Then, as if divinely inspired, "The World's Greatest" by R. Kelly came on.  Now I know he did a bunch of crap...but this song is where it's at!  At just the moment where the big, black choir gets to the big key change, I see my teammates and my sister.  (And I'm crying all over again) I hear the cowbells and the cheering.  I'm there!  I'm so close!  I power through as the tears start to flow!  I get to Tiffany and slap on the bracelet.  She was so sweet.  Before she took off she asked how I was and told me I was awesome!  Then I hugged Krista.  (Krista was crying as well.)  She told me over and over again how proud she was of me, how strong I was, and that I was amazing.  My teammates joined around and gave me hugs and words of encouragement.  Then I thought to myself: I DID IT!  It took a couple minutes for it to sink in.  I did that 7.0 miles in 1 hour and 28 minutes!  So all together I went 19.8 miles in 4.5 hours!

We had to get on the shuttle, which takes us to a school in Park City where THE finish line is, since Tiff is the last runner.  There they had smoothies and other various foods for us.  We met up with our van 1, and then when Tiffany got there, we all cross the finish line together!!  We had ALL done it!
That's me cheering in the back. :)
Here are all 12 of us.  The 12 of us had gone from Logan to Park City.  The 12 of us had gone 197 miles in 35 hours!  If that's not impressive...then I don't know what is.
Back: Tiff, me, Liz, Britt  Front: Jaclyn, Nikki
But really...I owe it all to these 5 wonderful ladies and Krista!  They were my cheerleaders.  They were the ones that made me realize I can do hard things...harder than I ever realized.  They were the ones that made me laugh.  They were the ones that buoyed me up.  I am eternally bonded to these women and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to have this experience with them.
That's right!  I earned that medal!  I may just wear it everywhere from now on...

We got our free shirts, free pizza, and off we went as we were all seriously beat at that point!
Well, it's been 2 days since we finished.  I am still hobbling around.  I'm impressed at how quickly my quads, hip flexors, and butt recovered.  My shoulders have a lot of knots, my calves are pretty tight, and my dang left foot is still kinda killing me.  It gets better each day though.  I told Alex last night, "You know...my body hurts so much, but I don't even care!  It was so worth it!"  Then I followed it up with, "Kind of like the first 5-6 times we had sex."  TMI?  Too bad...my blog. :)

I so want to do Ragnar again!  It was awesome!  I really want Alex to do it with me so he can understand.  It was such a cool experience, and I want him to have it as well.  Brittany wants to try and do a family team for next year...so maybe I can convince him. :)

Ragnar really helped me see just what the human spirit it all about!  The human spirit is about supporting one another.  Strangers supported me, I supported strangers.  I supported my teammates, they supported me.  The human spirit is about doing hard things.  I, personally, went 19.8 miles on foot in a matter of 24 hours.  I never thought I could do that.  And finally, the human spirit is about having the ability to overcome, with the help of our Father in Heaven.  Ragnar was not only a fun experience for me...but it was also a spiritual experience for me.  I felt so close to my Heavenly Father and I felt so incredibly grateful for the strong body He was given me.

Ragnar 2013?!  I sure hope so! :)

4 comments:

Brooke Elyse said...

congratulations!!
I'm taking human anatomy right now during the summer and it is so fascinating to me to learn about the human body. I'm definitely more motivated to take better care of it. In fact, tomorrow morning, I'm going for a run. yay for bodies!!

xoxo

brookelyse.blogspot.com

JJ11 said...

I started crying all over again when I read the story about the dad and daughter. What an incredible moment . One I will not forget.

Beth said...

Kaycie, that is AMAZING!! You are so freaking awesome. I don't think I could ever do something like that (you know how much I love running). I am super impressed. And I got teary eyed reading about that dad and daughter too! How sweet. What a great experience- thanks for sharing. :)

Glenna Bartlett said...

You're amazing!! Good job, Kaycie! :) You are so strong, both physically and spiritually.